China

China

It seems as though the Chinese market is getting a lot of special attention lately, probably due to the fact that they are on their way to becoming one of the biggest automotive markets in the world. Ferrari already built them a special 458 Italia and now Lamborghini has just unveiled the new Gallardo LP560-4 Gold Edition - offered exclusively for the Chinese market. The model will be limited to only 10 units and will be priced at 3 million Yuan - or the equivalent of $600,000. That’s $200K more than a standard Gallardo.

The new Gallardo LP560-4 Gold Edition will be distinguished by a special gold metallic paint combined with a new set of special alloys and a new engine cover. The interior gets red stitching on the steering wheel and seats.

Other than that, everything else on the Gallardo is the same. It will still be powered by a 5.2 liter V10 engine that delivers a total of 552 HP at 8,000 rpm and a peak torque of 398 lb-ft available at 6,500 rpm. This is enough power to sprint the supercar up to a top speed of 201mph.

German automaker MINI is only one of many automakers that are looking to break into the Chinese market. Just like many of its contemporaries, MINI is going the route of presenting a special edition version of the Cooper exclusive to the Chinese market.

The limited run model is being called the China Olympic Special Edition, although the absence of any Olympic logos seem to suggest otherwise. Anyway, that’s what they wanted to call it so, you know, more power to them.

What the car does have is MINI’s now iconic British Racing Green paint finish that’s finely matched by a special five-stripe gold design that runs across the car’s bonnet and white roof, forming what we think is an oval running track. In addition, there are a number of "MINI China" logos on the sides, entrenching its claim as a true China-only vehicle.

Meanwhile, performance modifications were left out, which means that you can expect to see the same 1.6-liter petrol engine that produces 158 horsepower.

For a company that prides itself on having cars with insane amounts of horsepower, not to mention having a horse on their world famous logo, we couldn’t help but smell at the irony after watching this video.

The scene is Shanghai, China and what looks like just another regular day turned bizarre after a Ferrari 458 Italia was kicked in the side bumper by...wait for it...a horse.

Apparently, the 458 Italia and the Lamborghini Aventador behind it were taking a lovely cruise on a street near the Shanghai World Expo Center when it came across a local horse riding club. One of the horses that was near the 458 Italia inexplicably walked towards it, turned its back, and delivered a walloping kick to the Italian super car. Reason being? Nobody knows.

Fortunately, the damage was limited to some dents and scratches, which should keep the repair tab from skyrocketing through the roof. At the very least, the unfortunate owner of the 458 Italia will have a pretty interesting story to tell about his super car’s brush with an actual horse.

"How’d you get that ding on the 458 Italia?"

"It was kicked by a horse."

True story, indeed.

Source: You Tube
Saab 9-4X

The Saab saga continues…

Just a few weeks ago, Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile – no, not that Lotus – was pushed out of the bidding ring for Saab due to what Autoweek called “Chinese bureaucracy” and the fact that there were some worries about the Chinese firm coming up with the scratch needed to finalize the deal.

This allowed a group of Chinese businesses, headed up by an alternative energy firm, to swoop in and take the lead on bidding. It looks as if Youngman isn’t quite ready to throw in the towel just yet, as according to Bloomberg the Chinese firm has just entered in a new bid of 4 billion kronor ($552 million) to purchase the bankrupted Swedish automaker.

The true test here is if this bid is even accepted. Youngman’s first bid was flat out rejected by GM. The second bid went belly up for similar reasons, we can only assume. So what makes Youngman think that this bid will receive a stamp of approval?

Even if Youngman succeeds in purchasing Saab’s remaining assets, what exactly does it plan on doing with the folded automaker? Most signs are pointing to Saab moving toward alternative energy sources to attempt to spearhead that market early on with a recognizable name. That’s all well and good, but the intellectual rights of the 9-3 and 9-5 are owned by BAIC , which leaves the company the rights to just the 9-4X SUV .

This lack of vehicles to base new ones off of means that whoever wins this relatively low-budget bidding war will essentially be building the company from scratch. Fortunately for the winner, the “Saab” name is well known and was once a fairly popular brand.

We will continue following the Saab bidding war and keep you updated as more information becomes available.

Posted on by Brad Anderson
BMW X1

The Audi , Mercedes-Benz , and BMW rivalry has always existed, but has rarely ever been as fierce at it his right now. Not only are all three manufacturers competing in DTM racing for the first time in history, but the three are also jostling over the Chinese market in order to become the country’s largest manufacturer of luxury vehicles.

With Volkswagen confirming its plans to help increase the popularity of Audi in China, BMW has announced that it plans to triple output across its Chinese production facilities to 300,000 units annually in line with the opening of the new Tiexi production facility. This facility will soon start production of the
X1 in the coming weeks.

However, not everything coming out of this announcement is positive as there’s a risk BMW could be putting too much faith into the Chinese market and risk overdependence on its sales in order to boost profit levels.

A research analyst from Frost & Sullivan pointed out that, “There are no other regions that can provide for such massive numbers of sales as China can,” he said. “In the event of economic turmoil in China, most German automakers could end up with hundreds of thousands of unsold cars.”

Just like most economies operate, China faces its fair share of good and bad patches and right now the Chinese economy is booming which can only mean one thing. If the U.S. and the Eurozone are anything to go by, China’s growth may slump in the next few years and this would obviously hamper European firms entering the market.

Conversely however, Audi and Mercedes-Benz will also be in similar boats if it all goes bottoms up but for BMW’s sake we wish them all well with this expansion.

Source: Bloomberg

Recently deceased automotive master and all-around great person, Carroll Shelby , has a history that few can compete with. Not only was he one of the best American road racers, but was also a legendary car designer. But his legend is seemingly endless in the automotive field, as even racers in drift series races are influenced by him.

The most recent evidence was when American driver Vaughn Gittin Jr. took home 1st place in round 1 of the World Drift Series in China while driving his Mustang RTR. Though Mr. Shelby never had a hand in drifting, it is obvious that he had a huge influence on Gittin, as he dedicated this victory to the memory of Mr. Carroll Shelby.

After being declared the winner, Gittin was quoted saying “I would like to dedicate this to win to a very special man that we lost recently, someone I had the opportunity to meet just a few times, and someone that was a true inspiration to me personally and to the automotive world as a whole. That man is Carroll Shelby. He is someone that always did what he wanted to do no matter what anyone thought and I know he would be proud to know we are drifting Mustangs in Olympic stadiums here in China and bringing home a huge first place trophy back to the USA!”

Our congratulations have to go out to Gittin for his victory, but the victory pales in comparison to his heartfelt dedication to the man that helped make the Mustang that won the race what it is today. To say that Gittin has our support throughout the rest of the WDS is an understatement.

Somewhere, Mr. Shelby was smiling as this Ford Mustang slid its way around imports and into first place…

Click past the jump to read the full press release.

China is becoming a key market for a lot of automotive companies, including Ferrari and, as a thank you gift, the company has opened a new Myth exhibition at the Italian Center in Shanghai Expo Park. The inauguration ceremony was attended by the company’s Deputy Chairman Piero Ferrari, as well as representatives of both the Chinese and Italian governments.

The new exhibition center covers an area of 900 square meters and will be open to the public for three years. Its aim is to introduce the Chinese to Ferrari and allow them to experience the history, cars, technologies, and passion of the Prancing Horse first-hand, thereby further consolidating the already strong links between the Italian marque and this nation.

The models displayed are the 348 TS as the first Ferrari to enter the Chinese mainland market, a 275 GTB4 , a 365 GTB4 Daytona , the 750 Monza sports prototype, and the FF .

"For millions of people around the world, Ferrari represents the pinnacle of Italian culture," declared Piero Ferrari. "It is a symbol of passion, success and the constant pursuit of excellence. It has always been our wish to share Ferrari’s unique history and culture with the people of China who have shown great affection for the Prancing Horse and with whom we share core values such as respect for tradition and a tenacious spirit of innovation."

There are two things that are a part of nearly every auto show: sexy cars and equally appealing women. With the latter often comes clothing that leaves very little to the imagination. Well apparently, the Capital Ethics Development Office of China – the morality police, per se – decided that it wanted none of it, as they reprimanded the Beijing Auto Show officials for such scantily clad women, per a report from Bloomberg.

From what we saw of the Beijing Auto Show , the number of skin-flaunting women wasn’t nearly as high as we are used to, so we are left wondering what exactly the Chinese government wants. There were, of course, the obligatory more-skin-than-clothes models, but for the most part the women were dressed pretty moderately for an auto show, and the video from Bloomberg (above) shows them.

We totally understand that the Chinese government is more reserved than most, but c’mon, it’s an auto show. Who is mostly drawn to auto shows? The answer is, primarily men in their 30s and 40s. What do most men in their 30s and 40s like just about as much as cars? Well, we think you can figure it out…

We guess we’ll just have to see what happens next year at the Beijing Auto Show. We certainly hope the women aren’t prancing around in pant suits – eek. If so, we will all use a lot less space on our digital cameras.

Source: Bloomberg
Ferrari 458 Italia China Special Edition

The last thing any automaker wants to do at this point in time is insult the fastest growing automotive market in the world, but this is exactly what Ferrari has achieved when it took its 458 Italia China Edition for a little joyride in China.

You see, China is now a local distributor for the Italian firm, so Ferrari paid $12,000 for permission to drive the 458 Italia China Edition on the Zhonghua Gate Tower in Nanjing, a 600-year-old historical site. This would have been acceptable, except for the fact that a dealer employee - not a Ferrari official - was caught doing ’doughnuts’ and wheel spinning on the ramparts during the night. And it was filmed.

China takes its culture and tradition very seriously, so these acts were entirely unacceptable on such a monument. Ferrari was quick to apologize for this daring and disrespectful act, and the culprit was disciplined by the dealership. Ferrari even took it a step further by promising to work with authorities and local officials to repair any damage.

"Ferrari is fully at the disposal of the local authority to solve the situation. At the same time Ferrari has asked the dealer to take immediate action with the employee who had such regrettable behavior," said the company.

Hit the jump to see the car doing the dirty deed in China.

Source: Sky

Remember the days when vans were cool? You know, you would cruise down the strip in your mom’s minivan and pick up all of your friends to head out to the coolest hangout spots… Oh wait, vans were never cool, what were we thinking? Well, that is until Mercedes decided to get into the van-making business.

At the 2012 Beijing Auto Show, Mercedes-Benz rolled into the show with its all-new customized Viano VISION DIAMOND. This ultra-luxury van, which is not yet available in the U.S., puts most modern-day limos to shame with its features. Add in the fact that it is large enough to move around in comfortably, unlike limos, which typically have standard headroom, and you have essentially a luxury home on the go.

Mercedes did not release too much information on this machine, but there is enough information obtainable just by looking at it to determine that this thing is flat out awesome. The Viano VISION DIAMOND would certainly eliminate any kids embarrassment of riding to school in a minivan, if this just so happened to be said minivan.

Click past the jump to check out our full review on the Viano VISION DIAMOND.


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